Susquehanna Health Expansion Increases Volunteer Opportunities

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The recent renovation and expansion at Susquehanna Health’s (SH) three hospital campuses is an asset to the communities served in northcentral Pennsylvania, but with the development of additional space, state-of-the-art facilities and enhanced services comes an expanded need for hospital volunteers.

The expansion of Williamsport Regional Medical Center has increased opportunities for volunteers, which is very exciting.

The recent renovation and expansion at Susquehanna Health’s (SH) three hospital campuses is an asset to the communities served in northcentral Pennsylvania, but with the development of additional space, state-of-the-art facilities and enhanced services comes an expanded need for hospital volunteers.

“The expansion of Williamsport Regional Medical Center has increased opportunities for volunteers, which is very exciting,” says SH Director of Volunteer Services Whitney Bernan. According to Bernan, these new opportunities include everything from volunteer clerks to staff the hospital gift shop in the evening to volunteer pianists who can entertain visitors and patients on a newly acquired Steinway grand piano to a foreseeable need for volunteer “coaches”—former patients who have experienced procedures such as joint or spine surgery who are willing to spend time with new patients to be an encouragement.

Hospital volunteerism is a way for individuals to invest in their community using the resources that are not necessarily financial in nature. Donations of time plus abilities plus compassion can equal a positive impact on patients, hospital staff and even the cost of healthcare. SH Volunteers Donald and Donna Krupilis have been serving patients and staff at Divine Providence Hospital for the last two to three years. Following retirement, Donald worked part-time as a hospital valet. After experiencing what a difference he could make in someone’s life simply by greeting them or offering assistance, he also noted the hospital’s need for volunteers. Donald encouraged his wife Donna to get involved. “I twisted her arm,” Donald says with a laugh.

In 2009, Donna began volunteering at the Susquehanna Health Cancer Center assisting patients through the card scanning process at the information desk. “Sometimes patients aren’t sure what to do. It can be a little unnerving,” explains Donna. “So, you see what you can do to help them feel at ease. . .and you keep the coffee pot going.” Donna also helps with filing in the radiation department and at the Kathryn Candor Lundy Breast Health Center to allow staff to focus on more urgent duties.

A former small business owner, Donald left his part-time position as a valet in 2010 to join his wife in the volunteer effort. He said he noticed that there was a need for someone to greet and help patients as they exited vehicles and entered the Cancer Center. Like Donna, Donald also volunteers in the radiation department in the Cancer Center but he splits his time working as a lab escort for the chemotherapy area by transporting patients to and from the waiting room.

“Many times, just seeing a familiar, friendly face means more than anything to [a patient],” explains Donald. “Helping them to feel comfortable and welcome is of great comfort to them.” Assisting patients who are very sick can be a bittersweet emotional experience, according to Donna, who on the same day shared in the sad news of a woman’s second cancer diagnosis with the woman’s spouse and moments later participated in the excitement of a final, successful treatment with another patient.

The Krupilises agree that the investment of their time and energy pays great dividends in personal satisfaction. “[Volunteering] is very rewarding,” says Donna. “I don’t think we’d give it up at anytime in the future,” adds Donald. For more information on Susquehanna Health’s Volunteer Services programs, visit SusquehannaHealth.org/Volunteers.

About Susquehanna Health
Susquehanna Health is a three-hospital integrated health system including Divine Providence Hospital, Muncy Valley Hospital and Williamsport Regional Medical Center located in northcentral Pennsylvania. Serving patients from an 11-county region, Susquehanna Health is a healthcare leader and has been recognized at the national and state levels for quality of care. Susquehanna Health offers a wide array of services that include cancer treatment, heart and vascular care/heart surgery, neurosciences including neurosurgery, orthopedics, urology, OB/GYN, gastrointestinal services, behavioral health, physical rehabilitation, home care, long term care, assisted living and paramedic/ambulance services.

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Gwynne Kinley
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